VOD and the independent filmmaker: a powerful partnership

Regardless of who pleads guilty, the verdict is the same: The rise of video on demand (VOD) has changed the fate of independent film distribution.
Feb. 7, 2013 - PRLog -- Blame it on the Millennials.  Or maybe it’s the technology.  The economics of supply and demand certainly must have played a role.  But in the end, perhaps it was plain ole fashioned subversion against the established media giants.  Regardless of who pleads guilty, the verdict is the same:  The rise of video on demand (VOD), both over the top (OTT) and internet video on demand (iVOD) has changed the fate of independent film distribution.  And it couldn’t have come at a moment too soon.

VOD introduces the democratizes distribution for filmmakers and their audiences.  It satisfies consumer demand, by allowing them to access the content they want anytime, anywhere via personal computers, notebooks, tablets as well as a variety of mobile devices. Time spent online is exceeding that of watching television in Generation X-Z, and in response VOD services have exploded internationally.  The United States has witnessed the highest rate of increase: In 2010, 80% of American Internet users had watched video online, and 42% of mobile users downloaded video preferred apps to a normal browser. Internationally, VOD has been following the penetration of broadband internet access into new markets.  In 2012, 72% of UAE users and 83% of KSA users visit a VOD (YouTube or similar) website more than 4 times a week. Viewing Arab films online has become the fourth most popular option behind waiting for films to air on TV, at the cinema or available on DVD.

Realizing that online platforms offer unique opportunities to target a pan-regional audience, media industry giants have been reinventing themselves to accommodate this shift in consumption. It is important that the telecommunication leaders in the Middle East recognize this rising demand and realize the potential it brings to their consumers.

As leaders in technology continue offering new content platforms like the Apple TV and Google TV devices, VOD momentum is driving both viewing habits and technology development.  Smart TVs are also bridging the technology gap bringing broadband connected communities apps and the internet directly to viewers’ televisions.  And let’s not forget how 4G mobile services, are expanding rapidly across the MENA region. There are reportedly over 360 million cellular lines across nineteen Arab countries with an almost 10% growth each year. These new networks are facilitating greater access to services and technologies, and this translates to giving audiences greater access to give consumers greater access to content from mobile devices.  With 48 percent of marketers planning to increase engagement via mobile advertising, mobile distribution can no longer be considered as an afterthought to a film’s release and marketing.  Mobile has now evolved to the point where it can serve as the hub that drives a film’s advertising and  distribution strategy.

With audiences consuming content in new ways, the distribution market is ripe for independent filmmakers.  New online VOD providers are creating competition to the legacy media providers. While monetization has been uneven depending on the region, new subscription and revenue models are entering the market which is giving filmmakers more profitability options.  It is no longer necessary to use a middleman to connect a filmmaker with broadcasters, distributors or film festivals.  The result for the filmmaker:  more eyes on their films; more money in their pockets.  

"The Internet, media and social networking keep people informed about what is happening around us. Today we desire to know and to share news with everyone. It’s our new artistic and cultural strength. Civilization is based on the communicating and exchanging of ideas and it’s our turn to do the same in a bigger, faster and stronger way." said Tarek Riahi, YallaTV registered producer.

But if VOD has revolutionized the way we consume media, can it also push the boundaries on how we interact with our content as well?  Beyond serving as a flexible platform to deliver films to audiences, YallaTV believes that VOD should offer filmmakers the opportunity to engage with their audience and promote themselves through social media. With that mission in mind, YallaTV was designed to expand the concept of a VOD platform: It is the first online community dedicated to the Arab filmmaker. Its flexible VOD platform offers filmmakers the unique opportunity to have their short films showcased with festival award-winning films from the MENA region. But YallaTV’s niche among the crowd of online video distribution sites is its social media functionality that connects Arab filmmakers with a peer community of producers, content creators, and industry contacts across the MENA region with whom they can collaborate and network.  

The duality of the platform is based on recognizing and responding to the need to equip filmmakers with resources to increase both audience and engagement around their films.  YallaTV also celebrates the lure of theatrical distribution for the filmmaker - that watching films is a group  experience - and the site offers various resources to help filmmakers identify and grow a community around their films. No longer are audiences only asked to attend a  final screening: They are invited as valued participants in the film’s evolution from development through production. This early outreach creates a community of supporters who are invested in the film’s success and who will spark conversation about the film’s subject matter and progress. Even better, this community is more likely to rally behind the filmmaker’s future projects.  

Combining social media with the flexibility of a VOD platform to empowers filmmakers to develop tailor-made marketing campaigns to increase the visibility (and by design profitability) of their films.  In 2013 YallaTV will be rolling out a suite of publicity and marketing tools to help selected filmmakers promote their recent projects and body of work.  Arab filmmakers can use YallaTV as the portfolio destination for their short films, trailers, and filmmaker biographies. With the exponential global growth of digital and social media, the media industry needs to recognize the huge opportunity to reach these young technology adapters.

We are dedicated to promoting the great talent in the region, and helping them expand their professional network to make their next production a success. YallaTV is here to help the MENA film industry grow to new heights. Join our community and share your experience, hopes and dreams on where you would like the industry to go. We want to help every filmmaker succeed. Their success is our success.

About YallaTV

YallaTV is the leading video-on-demand portal serving Arab filmmakers. It delivers Arabic language content to audiences in the Middle East and North Africa and supports a growing online community of filmmakers and fans to promote the growth and professionalism of the Arab film industry. See YallaTV online at http://www.yallatv.me, on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/yallatv.me) and on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/yallatv).

For more information contact:

Aaron Spring
Director of Marketing
+971 4 361 6123
Email:***@yallatv.me Email Verified
Tags:Video On Demand, Middle East, Mena, YallaTV, Vod
Industry:Movies, Technology
Location:Dubai Media City - Dubai - United Arab Emirates
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